Expressive Language Difficulties
What are these difficulties characterised by?
Expressive language refers to ‘spoken language’. It is the ability to use words to communicate a thought or message.
Children with expressive language difficulties may demonstrate the following characteristics:
- Absence or late development of babbling (sounds that babies make before they use words) or using words.
- Difficulties organising and sequencing their thoughts for example when telling a story/explaining what happened.
- Difficulties using or applying grammatical rules such as past tense e.g. walked, ran, plural markers e.g. boxes, socks and using pronouns e.g. he, she correctly.
- Vocabulary difficulties. Children and young people may appear to have a limited vocabulary in which they only use a small number/limited range of words for their age. It can also present as difficulties with learning new words and being able to recall them when they need to use them.
- Difficulties combining words to form sentences. They may put words in the wrong order or use simple phrases to communicate.
- Difficulties expressing their answers to questions and/or asking questions using the correct word order.
Children whose language difficulties are persisting or are likely to persist past the age of 5 years are described as having a ‘Language Disorder’. This may be associated with or due to other medication conditions such as hearing impairment or in addition to another diagnosis such as autism. Children whose difficulties are specific to language without another medical diagnosis are described as having ‘Developmental Language Disorder’
How does this impact the child?
Expressive language difficulties will impact on a child’s ability to effectively communicate their thoughts, wants and needs. This may lead to reduced confidence to talk and frustration. A difficulty with expressive language skills can also be frustrating for the teachers and parents involved too!
Where a child is demonstrating difficulties with using and recalling vocabulary, this will have a direct impact on their ability to participate in class discussions as well as their writing skills.
Difficulties in the area of grammar (word forms and sentence structures) will also impact on a child’s literacy skills and learning.
Children with expressive language difficulties can have difficulty starting or having a conversation. This could be a result of having trouble with finding the right word (vocabulary) or organising their thoughts and ideas into sentences. This can have an impact on a child’s social skills and ability to build friendships.
Difficulties with expressive language will also impact on literacy skills as the child/young person. For example a child/young person will not be able to accurately use plurals/past tense word forms in their writing if they are having difficulty using them in their spoken language.
How can ChatterBug support your child?
Our therapists at Chatterbug are flexible in the methods of assessing children’s language skills. Therapists at ChatterBug are trained to use a variety of assessments and approaches in order to identify the specific areas of difficulties your child is displaying.
Once assessment is complete, our SLTs will use the information from the assessment to devise a treatment plan that is individualised to your child’s areas of need and priorities.
We can offer direct 1:1 therapy or group sessions with a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) or Communication and Language Specialist (CALS), provide a therapy programme for school staff and parents to implement and/or advise and support school on staff with a range of strategies they can use to support their child on a daily basis.
At Chatterbug we incorporate a range of evidence based approaches to support the language development of children. We also provide training and modelling of interventions and approaches for parents/school staff. These include (but are not limited to):
- Parent-Child Interaction Therapy. This approach allows us to work together with parents in order to support them in developing their child’s language skills through play. We will model the most appropriate strategies that we feel will benefit the child.
- Evidence based Narrative and Vocabulary programmes which we can train staff to deliver or deliver ourselves on an individual or group basis.
- Structured visual approaches to language teaching such as Colourful Semantics and Shape Coding during our direct therapy sessions with children in which school staff can also be trained on request.
We offer Early Talk Boost and Talk Boost training for school and nursery staff and can offer bespoke training on other interventions on request
We also offer our ‘Toddler Talk’ programme which is aimed at younger children and families in which we can provide parents with activity ideas they can carry out at home to help stimulate language development.